The morning started of chilly, to say the least, (36 degrees) but under sunny skies and a westerly wind. Things were looking up! Mike Klassmier from City Bikes met the riders and "prepped" their bikes for the ride to the Beach. Trooper Kevin Roe, Special Ops of the Md. State Police met us with a smile (he didn't bring the coffee) and briefed us on what we can expect traffic wise for the Ride. Mick Rosenblatt, who was on parts of the original Airline Ride Across America, joined us and commented that it was just like the "old days"...it brought back fond memories of why we rode for 33 days across the country. Around 8:30AM we got under way, while the number of cyclists was not what we had hoped, the number was just right for "testing" for then next big one! The second annual B2B will he held on September 8, 2007.....mark your calendars.
The convoy consisting of a sag wagon, a riders Mom, the police, and 9 cyclists left Grasonville under the watchful eye of Trooper Brian Fisher (he's on a Honda Motorcycle) who made sure we could find our way to the Delaware State Line. If you remember on the original Ride, we/I got lost a couple of times. Brian guaranteed that we were not "run off the road". Along the way, we passed pumpkin fields, poultry farms (which you could smell from miles away), and wide open scenic stretches of the Eastern Shore. With the sun now up higher, it was getting warmer and with the wind we were making good time. Not that great because what's a ride without a flat? Todd expertly ran over a staple, got two punctures in the same tire and we had to make a "pit stop" not the NASCAR way like we did during the Airline Ride Across America with Paul changing a time in seconds. This one took a while but, in no time we are in Denton.
At the Denton Police station we were hosted (not arrested) by Chief Rodney Cox. They put out a spread of drinks, fruit, and nutrition bars as well as promising us that next year they'd ride their Trek Police bikes with us. Picture this: the cops on big mountain bikes trying to keep up with the riders on road bikes! If your picture is on the post office wall, you are safe, they'd never catch you on the mountain bikes! Leaving Denton, we continued on the scenic tour of the Delmarva Peninsula to Federalsburg.
In Federalsburg at the Marina Park, we were greeted by Mayor Betty Ballas along with several volunteers and more drinks and food. So far it's been an easy ride; a fun ride. Betty has lots of experience with cyclists because Federalsburg has hosted numerous other cycling events such as the Ride Across Maryland over the years. She recommended that we do this again next year: I told her it's already on the calendar.
While we were in Federalsburg, you can guess, another flat. Just as we were getting ready to head out to Millsboro, Brian Fitch screams: "I've got a flat". Brian was with us during the original ride, playing hooky from school and riding with us through PA. Today, with his Mom and his new bike that has a flat, he tells us: "My Mom wouldn't let me come unless I raised some money". So what's he do? Changes the flat on once, he pinched the first one and blew it out, but tells us he's raised $700.00 in pledges for the Ride. Way to go Brian!
Saying thanks to the mayor and leaving Federalsburg behind, Brian (the cop) takes to Delaware where we are greeted by a Delaware State Trooper....after the "secret" police handshake we continue on the Beach. Like the "old days" during the Ride, we "blow through" major intersections with the help of the police; just as we rode through the streets of LA, Dallas, Philly, Baltimore and D.C. never stopping for a traffic light: way cool!
Some 87 miles later and some 6 hours later we arrive at Mango's. The one of the owners of Mango's (Dick) joins us 5 miles out for the finish. While congratulating each other for a wonderful afternoon and an easy ride the observation was made: Todd and Brian had never ridden a century. Guess what? Some of us mount up and added 13 miles so they can say they had ridden a Century! While some of us were riding, others take to the water and do some body surfing in the Atlantic. Picture a couple of guys in bike shorts body surfing? Think the padding in the pants got soggy? Think they had a bulge on their backside? Not pretty!
After showers, we re-grouped at Mango's for beer, wings and to watch Mick take a nap. Once Mick got up from his nap, we all went to Bethany Blues and had a great dinner of ribs, crab cakes, and more beer compliments of Jim Weisgerber, one of the owners of Bethany Blues! To cap the evening we had our last drawing of the American Airlines raffle tickets: guess what? A guy from Portland, Oregon by way of the internet and the Airline Ride Across America website purchased the winning ticket: Mike Kaplan come on down! You are the lucky winner! Lucky him, he did not have to be present to win!
As the winter is slowly approaching, keep on the bikes, stay healty, and we hope to see you at the Next B2B on September 8th next year!